Multi-million dollar Tampa Heights project awaits crucial vote


The fate of an ambitious $350 million redevelopment project on the east bank of the Hillsborough River depends on a Tampa City Council vote.

City Council chair Charlie Miranda say's he's confident it will attract the needed votes.

"It's been talked about, but never pursued and developed for a long time, but I think that it's going to happen," Miranda says.

The nearly 49-acre plot of land once was full of derelict warehouse buildings in a part of town known as Tampa Heights, but now it's full of life and activity as several projects come underway.

It's the product of a pair of Tampa developers that purchased the lot after previous plans fell through with the rest of the housing market.

Pending city council's re-zoning vote, developers want to build at least a thousand homes, retail, office space, a grocery store and a hotel on the land.

The City of Tampa has already dedicated plenty of man hours to the project and says they're all in as well.

"They're very ambitious people, they've been working on this for a while, and they've been very patient and thoughtful about the planning," said Bob McDonaugh, with the Tampa Economic Development Corp.

Already, the City of Tampa has been working on nearby Ulele Springs Park, and the Gonzmart family, the owners of the Columbia restaurant, have invested nearly $4 million into the old Water Works building to turn it into a new concept restaurant.

The developers say they'll start work on the old Armory building as soon as the re-zoning goes through and say the first phase should be done by 2015, with the second phase ready by 2019.

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